Energy Giants Seek to Boost Qatar’s Gas Expansion Despite Crisis

The ORYX GTL plant, located in Qatar.

Credit: SASOL / CC BY-SA 3.0

Doha may get a timely boost from the West’s three biggest energy corporations who are reportedly urging Qatar to take part in a huge expansion of its gas production despite the recent bitter dispute with Gulf Arab neighbours.

The recent announcement to raise the output of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 30% was a result of the chief executives of ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and France’s Total, meeting the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, in Qatar.

The CEOs have reportedly expressed interest in facilitating Qatar to produce its ambitious 100 million tonnes of LNG annually in the next five to seven years. The companies, who have massive investments in the countries on both sides of the dispute, wish to remain neutral after the severing of ties with Doha by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain.

It is reported that Chief executives Darren Woods of Exxon and Ben van Beurden of Shell have met the emir after the imposition of sanctions by the four Arab countries, and the Patrick Pouyanne, chief of Total has also visited Doha in the recent weeks.

Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir reiterated that the political and economic boycott would remain until Qatar improves its policies. However, Doha has denied aiding terrorism.

Exxon, Shell, and Total have already invested extensively in Qatar especially in projects to liquefy the gas. Exxon reportedly would be the largest foreign investor in Qatar in 2017 representing around 7% of its global portfolio.

The LNG capacity of Qatar could get a boost of around 10 million tonnes per year by optimising existing facilities and also upgrading some units with a process known as debottlenecking. The energy giants could further augment the expansion by helping to build new liquefaction terminals involving considerable investments.

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